Advocate Torii Bottomley speaks with another advocate at the “Massachusetts: Face Workplace Bullying” display at the State House.
Legislation usually takes multiple sessions to pass. As the 2015-16 legislative session closes, let’s take some time to reflect on how we progressed the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill this session:
- Third Reading. The bill made it to a Third Reading in the House – a major accomplishment given the thousands of bills introduced each session. The Third Reading is a major milestone in the process. Once the bill reaches a favorable vote in the House Third Reading in future sessions, we have a great shot at getting the bill passed.
- Legislative sponsors. We gained a record 58 sponsors this session, up from 39 in the previous session and 13 in the prior session thanks to your calls, emails, and visits to legislators.
- Advocacy. The State House debut of Torii Bottomley’s “Massachusetts: Face Workplace Bullying” jumpstarted a flurry of activity. Advocates protested in Ashburton Place, Harvard Square, and Davis Square. They also flyered several commuter lots, including at Worcester’s Union Station, the second display of “Massachusetts: Face Workplace Bullying.”
- Supporters. We’re up to 20 official organizational supporters, including the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the National Association of Government Employees, whose lobbyists push the bill in the State House.
- Media. While “workplace bullying” gets more and more attention in such outlets as Alternet and Fast Company, WGBH reporter Craig LeMoult covered the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Bill and the “Massachusetts: Face Workplace Bullying” display this spring.
- Opposition. “The Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) — a powerful corporate lobbying presence — and a small group of ultra-conservative state legislators opposed the HWB. You know you’re making progress when the opposition comes out of hiding,” said professor and bill author David Yamada last session. An AIM executive weighed in on the bill in WGBH’s piece this session.
So how do we make the next session better than this one to get this bill passed?
- Share suicide stories. School bullying didn’t become legislated in Massachusetts until tragedy struck. If you’re aware of a suicide due to workplace bullying in Massachusetts, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll check in with families of targets, and with their approval, let legislators know their stories and how urgent the need is for legislation.
- Get a group of people to visit the State House to speak with legislators. Get your co-workers or former colleagues to visit legislators to ask them to support the Healthy Workplace Bill.
- Make advocacy happen. Have an idea for advocacy? A skill? An audience? An event? A contact? Rather than question why we haven’t done an idea, realize your own power. Make it happen. We’re all volunteers using the skills we have to further the cause and make change. We need your skills and time to further change. Email us at email@example.com with how you can help.
“So many social movements leading to legal reforms — the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the LGBT movement, to name a few — have been fueled by people who have experienced injustice and abuse,” said Yamada. If you’re ready, speak out about your workplace bullying experience to heal and help prevent others from experiencing workplace bullying if enough people stand up and legislators pass the bill. If enough of us say ENOUGH, we’ll make history and move the needle on workplace cultures just like sexual harassment law did.
Advocates protest in Harvard Square with targets, scars, and bruises on them.
Those who visit the State House 4th floor will see the faces of fourteen workplace bullying targets and their powerful stories in “Massachusetts: Face Workplace Bullying,” now running through Friday, April 22.
Research shows bully bosses target the most successful employees out of envy for their skills and ethics. This abuse comes at a proven cost to every state’s economy.
Bring your State Rep to the exhibit
If you view the exhibit at the State House, call beforehand to set up an appointment to meet with your State Rep or his or her aide to ask him or her to help make the Healthy Workplace Bill (H 1771), a priority. Bring him or her to view the exhibit. Ask your Rep for help with contacting Chairman of Bills & Third Reading Theodore Speliotis to ask him to release House Bill 1771 for Third Reading.
Going on tour to spread the word about workplace bullying
Torii is booking locations across Massachusetts for the art display. Email Torii at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of a contact at any of these locations recommended on by our advocates or another suitable location:
- Boston City Hall
- Boston Public Library
- A college anywhere in the state
- MA DOT Outside Advertising Agency
In this second year of the two-year legislative session, we have just a few more months to get the anti-workplace bullying Healthy Workplace Bill (H 1771) passed before we have to start at the beginning of the process in January 2017.
We’re stuck at the Third Reading in the House. Legislators aren’t making this bill a priority. That’s where you come in.
In the next two weeks, we urgently need you to schedule a meeting with your State Rep at the State House or locally. Your State Rep holds office hours at both the State House and in your district. Rather than simply call or email, meet with him or her face-to-face and ask him or her to help make the Healthy Workplace Bill, H 1771, a priority. Ask for help with contacting Chairman of Bills & Third Reading Theodore Speliotis to ask him to release House Bill 1771 for Third Reading.
We have a great shot at getting this bill passed this session if we urge our State Reps to make this bill a priority. Share this post to help spread the word to get more Massachusetts residents to contact their State Reps about this bill.
It’s been more than seven months since healthy workplace advocates testified at the Massachusetts State House. Now we need pressure in the State House to move the anti-workplace bullying Healthy Workplace Bill (H 1771) forward in the House. We ask you to email or call Rep. Ellen Story, the lead sponsor in the House, this week to ask her to ask Speaker DeLeo to move the bill forward:
We’re now on the House Calendar at #79. Week by week, we’ll inch closer to the top, when H. 1771, the Healthy Workplace Bill, will be center stage. Once H. 1771 gets closer to the top of the list, we’ll ask you to give a big push to your State Rep.
Get your letters ready to email or make an appointment with your State Rep today!
And thank you for getting the Healthy Workplace Bill to this point, the furthest along we’ve been in the history of the bill. That’s something to celebrate.
We’re at an exciting step, the Third Reading in the House. But it could take days, weeks, or months to get to the top of the House Calendar. We’re keeping an eye on the calendar so we know when we get closer to being center stage. Once we see HB 1771 inch up the agenda and get close to that point, we’ll ask you to give a big push to your State Rep.
We hope to update you soon when we see HB 1771 on the calendar. In the meantime, get your letters ready to email or make an appointment with your State Rep.
We’re in a crucial stage for getting the Healthy Workplace Bill, HB 1771, passed into law. We’re at the Third Reading. In simple terms, this stage means a reading with all amendments for final approval. In this phase, legislators examine the bill for legality, constitutionality, and the duplication or contradiction of existing law.
This step is a big deal. This stage is the furthest point in the process we reached previously. Two sessions ago, we reached this point just before the end of session. This time, we have an entire year left before the session ends.
What this stage means for you
Soon we’ll ask you to give another push to your state legislators asking them to vote in favor of HB 1771. Meeting with your legislators or their aides, who pass along information to your legislators, is the most effective action you can take at this point, but you can also email your state legislators. Feel free to use an email template to help focus your message and attach these two fact sheets:
Fact Sheet #1
Fact Sheet #2
We’ll keep you posted on when we anticipate action on this bill so you can approach your legislators when it will have the greatest impact.
Thanks for helping get us to this point. We’ve come a long way thanks to you spreading the word, and we have more hope now than ever.